Sharon White

In the Italian mystery there is a knife and a lake. The lake is bordered by fluffy trees. Once the knife was a kitchen knife, quiet in its drawer. I saw the knife in a plastic bag, enveloped in mist. No, that was the lake and the heroine was standing by the lake where her mother killed her father. Such family drama. Once there was a family and then there was none. Just the calm water of the lake, the reflection of the trees, the mother opening her mouth to speak and the daughter starting to cry. But this was a long time ago in another world, minus the father who was long dead. And the mother who decided she didn't like how the story was going and got out of town fast.

Once he kept telling her he wanted it doggie style. He told her this over and over again. There were cardinals in the bushes by the canal. She could hear them whistling to each other. She could see their fiery heads. In the paper the reviewer said violent sex was the best, full of heat and love. The book he was discussing had lots of it. Chains and whips, humiliation. Giving yourself completely over to the other. She didn't think that sounded like fun. To let yourself go in pain was the last thing she wanted. But it was fashionable then on the lip of the new decade. You had to include it somewhere or no one would read your work.

It was all about how once upon a time there were keys to the house. Held fast in her mother's hands. There was her mother on the deck leaning out toward the big maple. Deer put their delicate hooves into the wet soil under the tree. You can see them there even now. The dust of insects. A pair of reindeer shoes eaten invisible by northern bugs. The sound of her brother and sister whining that the house was falling down, the carpenter refused to work. The lights in the fir trees must mean something was going on. Surely someone would want to buy such a house and wipe away the mirage of a family who was happy in its skin.

Once upon a time my grandmother washed the jalousies on the porch. I got them all done, Cherie. Whew it was quite a job. I could smell the ammonia and liked the way the slats glistened. It was warm there, as warm as the hall in the winter when I would curl up on the floor near the hot air vent and sleep. My grandfather did the same thing on the floor in the living room at the base of the couch. She was French. He was Irish. There was a shiny pamphlet full of beautiful women with bare breasts in the drawers upstairs. My grandparents had visited Paris. The Folies Bergère. Could I have breasts like that some day? Could I wind leaves around my body and fold my neck back to let all the world see my beautiful breasts?

The birds look at me with suspicion. So suspiciously. Glass eyes long beaks. Once they were in a shop here and there. Why aren't they happy? I've liberated them from the sticky hands of children, the sweaty hands of mothers. Ungrateful birds. Caricatures of their real cousins who throw stones off high cliffs in northern places or steal through the bush and call out at night to their mates or pose on the wires above the inlet where godwits poke their beaks into the muck and fur seals tumble near the road while three women from Singapore snap picture after picture and cry out in glee.




I watch a lot of tv murder mysteries. [This] is a link to one of my recent favorites.